Secure your phone before it’s too late
A hacked phone is bad news, so if you suspect your phone has been hacked, you need to fix it ASAP. This article explains how to repair the damage (as much as possible) and get back to normal life.
Signs that your phone has been hacked includes losing charge quickly, running slowly, strange activity like pop-ups or unexpected apps showing up, or unknown calls or texts in your phone logs.
A hacked phone can often lead to hacked online accounts, since hackers often use the autologin feature with saved passwords to access your accounts from your phone. So after following this guide to fix your phone, make sure to take back control of your Facebook account hacked, Google account hacked, and a hacked email account.
Causes of a hacked phone
Your phone can be hacked for a variety of reasons, not all of which are completely under your control.
- By clicking on links on social media sites that take you to a site that installs malware on your phone.
- Selection of links in phishing emails that install malware.
- SIM card hacking where the hacker convinces your provider to send them a replacement SIM card.
- Hackers connect to your phone through a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.
Regardless of how hackers managed to install malware or a virus on your phone, the results are generally the same. The hacker will try to exploit all the information on your phone to profit in some way or another.
This may include searching your phone’s files to find personal or sensitive information like your bank account details, social security number, or online account passwords.
You can clean your phone and get rick from hacking activity using the steps below. These fixes apply to any version of Android and any manufacturer of Android phones.
- First, activate Android Safe Mode. Once this is enabled, remove any newly installed or unrecognized apps from your Android. Make sure you search for hidden apps so. You can also see recently installed apps on your Android by opening the Google Play Store app and selecting My Apps & Games, then sorting the installed apps by Last Updated. Uninstalling unrecognized or recently installed apps can help remove any potential malware that you accidentally installed. Why use Android Safe Mode before removing apps? In safe mode, Android disables all third-party apps from running, which also prevents unnecessary background apps from running. This makes it easier to remove unwanted apps from your phone without seeing any errors.
- Install and run mobile antivirus software. These apps will scan your phone for malicious files and apps that compromise the security of your phone and delete them permanently.
- If you have rooted your Android phone, then you have opened up areas of the system that are normally protected by security privileges. To reverse this trend, you will need to use one of the root apps like SuperSU to uproot your Android and make it secure again. Rooting or uprooting your Android can “brick” the phone and make it unusable. If this happens to you then you will need to follow the instructions to unbox your Android and get it back again if you can.
- Reset your Android lock screen and PIN code. This will make sure that if a hacker gained access to your login details and hacked your phone this way, they won’t be able to come back once you restart your Android. You can also lock apps using screen pinning for added security.
- Reset account passwords. You may need to reset your Microsoft account if you are using Office365 apps, or reset Instagram password, or even reset your Gmail account. It can be difficult to change all of your passwords, but if a hacker has been active on your phone, this is the only way to ensure that all of your accounts are resecured. To protect all of your accounts from future hacks, consider using a free password manager app on your Android. This will protect your passwords behind an extra layer of password protection and will make it harder for hackers to access your accounts.
- If you’ve noticed that you’re no longer receiving phone calls or text messages, check unrecognized numbers or calls on your bill, or if a location tracker app shows the wrong location for your phone, your SIM card could have been cloned or hacked. This is usually accomplished by a hacker who uses social engineering to get your wireless provider to send them a new SIM card on your behalf. If you suspect this is the case, contact your wireless service provider and let them know that your SIM card may be cloned. They can work with you to stop the cloned SIM card and provide you with a legitimate one.
Since the hacker was able to get your wireless provider to send them a SIM card, it’s important to take some time to work with the provider and make sure that all of your personal contact information and billing is always correct. Also make sure they have a secondary contact phone number on file that they can use for confirmation if someone ever calls asking to make changes to your current phone’s wireless plan.